Syracuse Outlasts Pittsburgh
Syracuse swept the season series against Pittsburgh with a 60-55 win over the Panthers on the road on Saturday.
The Orange, without starting forward Matthew Moyer, inserted Marek Dolezaj into the starting five for the first time this season. Syracuse looked sloppy to start and Pittsburgh took advantage. Jared Wilson-Frame made his first five field goal attempts as the Panthers took an early 14-6 lead. The Orange used an 11-1 run to take a 17-15 lead. Pittsburgh shot 29.6% from the field in the first half compared to just 22.2% shooting from the field for Syracuse. The Orange used a 9-1 advantage at the charity stripe to take a 22-20 lead into the break.
With the game tied at 40, Syracuse used a 7-0 to build a 47-40 lead with 6:47 remaining. The Panthers would not get any closer than four. The Orange pulled out 60-55 victory for their first win on the road in conference play.
Wilson-Frame led Pittsburgh with 18 points and 13 rebounds in the losing effort.
Syracuse won the game thanks to a career day from freshman big man Bourama Sidibe. Sidibe registered career-highs in three statistical categories, finishing with 18 points, 16 rebounds, and 3 blocks in 31 minutes off the bench. This was the first game that the Orange were not led in scoring by one of their “big three” (Frank Howard, Tyus Battle, Oshae Brissett).
Battle, the only other Syracuse player to score in double figures on Saturday, scored 14 points and grabbed 5 rebounds. Brissett tallied with 9 points and corralled 8 rebounds. Dolezaj recorded 7 points and 5 rebounds in his first career start. Howard added 6 points and 4 assists.
Sidibe’s performance was a surprise to many, including Coach Jim Boeheim, as he expressed his thoughts on his back-up center’s play during his postgame press conference. “He was spectacular,” Boeheim said. “Bourama was tremendous. He was the difference in the game. He’s healthier. He’s been getting better in practice. If he had been healthy all year, he could do this on a regular basis.”
Sidibe will need to continue to be productive as Moyer is not expected to return any time in the near future due to an ankle injury he suffered against Boston College.
With the win, Syracuse improved to 15-6 overall, 4-4 in the ACC, while Pittsburgh dropped to 8-14, 0-9 in conference.
Up next, Syracuse travels to Atlanta to take on Georgia Tech on Wednesday at 8pm. The Yellow Jackets are 10-10 overall and 3-4 in the ACC. Georgia Tech hosts #18 Clemson Sunday night. Most recently, the Yellow Jackets suffered an 88-77 loss at the hands of Florida State on the road Wednesday night. Georgia Tech is led by Josh Okogie who is averaging 17.7 points and 6.2 rebounds per game. Last year, the two teams split the season series with each team winning at home. The Yellow Jackets won 71-65 in Atlanta, while the Orange won 90-61 in the Carrier Dome.